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Hoops icon Dick Vitale intros financial prep event

(April 2, 2008)--Amid the excitement of NCAA March Madness, student-athletes and other students at the two NCAA Final Four host schools -- The University of Texas at San Antonio and University of South Florida -- will get help developing a personal finance game plan when The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. brings its award-winning national Playbook for Life financial literacy program to both schools April 3. Created in collaboration with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Playbook for Life gives student-athletes and all college students the basic financial knowledge required for success after graduation. The event is free and open to UTSA students.

College hoops icon Dick Vitale will introduce the UTSA event at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 3 at the Convocation Center, while Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman will head the lineup at the University of South Florida event in Tampa at 7 p.m. in the Intercollegiate Athletics Facility Big East Room. Vitale, Lieberman and members of Team Hartford will bring the playbook's teachings to life to help students get a jumpstart in planning for their financial futures.

"Student-athletes are often worried about their performance on the field or on the hardwood, and the off-court aspects often go without much thought," said Vitale. "It is vital that all young adults are armed with the knowledge to meet financial challenges and reach their goals, whether in sports or any other endeavor."

Joining Vitale in San Antonio will be Team Hartford Captain Allen Pinkett, a former University of Notre Dame and NFL running back, and Bill Zimmerman, a former Columbia University offensive lineman. The trio will share practical lessons from the Playbook and encourage student-athletes to take charge of their finances as they prepare for life after college.

At the University of South Florida, Lieberman will share life lessons from her days as a former U.S. Olympian, Old Dominion University and WNBA player, and former head coach of the Detroit Shock. Lieberman, along with Bill Poutre, a former student golfer and adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, and current head coach of the NCAA Division I men's golf team at the University of Hartford, will share tips with students on how to get their financial house in order.

"When I left college, I didn't realize how ill-prepared I was for the next phase of my life. As a young athlete, my only teacher on these real-world issues was trial and error," said Lieberman.

Playbook for Life helps student-athletes -- and all college students -- meet those challenges by giving them tangible skills in money management to take charge of their finances and their future success. The program provides that help not only in campus presentations, but also to college students nationwide through free resources in the Playbook for Life guidebook.

"As we salute the talented student-athletes whose accomplishments will be showcased in San Antonio and Tampa this week, we also take time to emphasize the importance of preparing for life beyond the brackets," said Greg Shaheen, NCAA senior vice president for basketball and business strategies. "The Hartford's Playbook for Life has educated thousands of student-athletes and college students about the benefits of sound financial planning, and we’re pleased to bring this award-winning program to students at our host institutions."

Since the program's launch in March 2005, the Playbook for Life has been widely praised by students, coaches, teachers and parents as a valuable resource for helping young adults make smart financial decisions. Members of Team Hartford have brought the Playbook message to students at more than 30 colleges and universities, leading to more than 180,000 guidebooks distributed to date.

About the NCAA

The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 380,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports.

About The Hartford

The Hartford, a Fortune 100 company, is one of the nation's largest diversified financial services companies with 2007 revenues of $25.9 billion. The company is a leading provider of investment products, life insurance and group benefits; automobile and homeowners products; and business property and casualty insurance.

For more information, contact Pamela Rekow at (860) 547-8990 or Ilene Lefland at (203) 378-1152, ext. 109.

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